The coronavirus epidemic has caused a near complete shutdown of China as people are very scared of the illness and the potential consequences, which are yet to be clearly ascertained. Measures are being taken to control the illness, but nobody is clear as to exactly what is happening or not due to persistent attempts by the Chinese government to censor the flow of information. However, thanks to the Internet, many reports are able to get out that help to give a better perspective on what in happening.
Reports are now surfacing that it appears the Chinese government is burning bodies in secret to try to stop the spread of the virus and then not reporting the deaths, meaning the mortality rate may be much higher that what is being presented to the world.
World health officials, back from a visit to Beijing, expressed great concern that a dangerous new virus was spreading between people outside of China, even as the number of illnesses continue to grow dramatically inside that Asian nation.
The new virus has now infected more people in China than were sickened during the 2002-2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak. On Wednesday, the number of cases jumped to 5974, surpassing the 5327 people diagnosed with SARS.
The death toll, which stood at 132 on Wednesday, is lower than the 348 people who died in China from SARS.
Doubts have been raised about the official death toll, however, with claims Chinese authorities have been cremating bodies in secret.
Chinese-language news outlet Initium interviewed people working at local cremation centres in Wuhan, who said bodies were being sent directly from hospitals without being properly identified and added to the official record. (source)